Exonerated After 5 Years

DNA proves Ben Salazar innocent

Case Facts:

  • Conviction date: April 1992
  • Time sentenced: 30 years in prison
  • Time served: 5 years
  • Exoneration date: October 30, 1997
  • Cause of wrongful convection: Misidentification by eyewitness

The Conviction

In April of 1992 Ben Salazar was convicted of breaking into the home of a 3 month pregnant woman and sexually assaulting her in front of her child based off of the victims identification. According to the women she was laying on a mattress in her living room with her child when the suspect broke into her house. She says that she had her front door open with a locked screen door and the suspect broke in through a hole that had been previously made in the screen to unlock the door.

What lead Ben to be a suspect?

  • He was picked out of a photo album
  • He had a similar tattoo that the actual perpetrator had
  • Ben and perpetrator smoked the same and of cigarettes
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The Exoneration

After 2 rounds of testing seminal fluids it was confirmed that Ben could not have been the donor and he was released on bond in October 27, 1997. There was a third round of testing that took place with a new sample from Salazar. After the test was concluded Salazar's conviction was overturned on October 30, 1997. On November 20, 1997 Ben was exonerated. He spent fives years in jail.

Analysis

Ben could have been wrongfully convicted do to the eyewitness making a mistake on the identification. This was could've been influenced due to the women being pregnant and afraid. The women was also preoccupied with watching TV with another child so she was caught off guard.